Material handlers work in wholesale and retail operations as well as in the manufacturing industry. Their work description varies according to the industry they work in. The duties of material handlers could include moving stock, freight, and other materials. They could also feed materials into machines and be required to clean cars, machines, and equipment.
What do material handlers do?
Materials handlers and hand laborers have similar job descriptions which include:
- Manual movement of materials
- Record keeping of materials moved
- Assistance of those who help to move materials, the machine operators
- Manual wrapping and packing of products and goods.
Let’s consider the job description of material handlers in more detail.
Manual movement of materials
This is a major part of the job description of material handlers and hand laborers. The full extent of manual movement material handlers engage in is dependent on the industry and organization. They could work in warehouses, production, and storage areas. In such areas, they will be required to load containers, ships, and delivery trucks.
Manual wrapping and packing of products and materials
Manual wrapping and packaging of products and materials are closely related to manual movement of the items. Material handlers are required to inspect products for defects before packaging them. They also label cartons and keep a record of all items wrapped and packed. Material handlers package and wrap products and materials in different settings, from grocery stores to warehouses.
Feeding and offloading of machines
In the manufacturing industry, material handlers and hand operators feed materials into a machine and offload them. This part of the job involves working very closely with the machine operators and providing support as necessary. For this part of the job, the material handler is expected to know how to assist machine operators to carry out minor repairs. The material handler also has to take note of the materials fed and offloaded during a shift.
Machine and equipment cleaning
As a material handler, you may be required to clean machines, equipment, and vehicles. This is a lot of manual work, and it involves the use of hoses, brushes, and cleaning products. Material handlers may work in car washes. They may also be only required for cleaning industrial vehicles and machinery, especially when they work in the manufacturing industry.
What training do you need to become a material handler?
You do not need a formal education to become a material handler or hand laborer. Employers are more interested in your physical ability to do the job.
Although you do not require formal education to qualify for the job, you will be trained on the requirements and expectations. This training typically comes on the job and lasts for about a month. The training is usually carried out by a senior member of staff and would focus on aspects such as workplace safety. If the job description involves commercial driving, you would need a commercial driving license.
What skills do you need to become a material handler?
Skills such as hand-eye coordination, physical strength, physical stamina, customer service, and listening skills are important for material handlers. Material handlers also have to be well acquainted with the record-keeping system of the organization.
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